How to Remove Nice-To-Know Information From Your eLearning

When you’re starting work on an eLearning project, it’s not always clear what information should and should not be included in your eLearning course. How can you separate nice-to-know information from must-know information, especially when it’s a topic or process you aren’t familiar with? While you might assume your subject matter experts will help you with this, don’t hold your breath!

Here’s the thing about subject matter experts: they want everyone to be just as passionate and informed as they are about their given area of expertise. Not only is this unrealistic, more often than not, it’s also not really necessary. Your learners only need the most minimal amount of information to do their jobs at the expected level of performance. That’s it! Nothing more and nothing less. 

So, how can you remove nice-to-know information from your eLearning courses? Well, in this post, I’ll give you some simple tips. 

Tip#1: Ask Questions

One way to remove nice-to-know information from your eLearning is by asking your SMEs the right questions. | eLearning Blog

When it comes to removing nice-to-know information from your eLearning course, the first place to start is with your subject matter experts. Yes, your SMEs will always be overly enthusiastic about what content (all of it) should be included; however, that doesn’t mean they can’t help you– it’s just a matter of how you ask your questions. 

When working with your subject matter experts, ask questions that reveal the true relevancy of the content they are asking you to include. Instead of asking questions like, “Do we need to include this?” or “Is this information important?”, ask questions like:

  • How will employees use this information to complete the task?
  • What would happen if they didn’t receive this information?
  • Do employees need to memorize this information, or can it be referenced on-the-job?

Tip #2: Conduct a Task Analysis

One way to remove nice-to-know information from your eLearning is by conducting a task analysis. | eLearning Blog

One of the challenges of separating must-know from nice-to-know information is your personal familiarity with the content. If you’re acting as your own subject matter expert, you can rely on your own knowledge and expertise regarding what information should be included in the eLearning course. However, if it’s a topic you’re not familiar with, you might feel like you can only depend on your SMEs. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case. 

One way to remove nice-to-know information AND become more familiar about the topic of your eLearning course is by conducting a task analysis. A task analysis is a process of analyzing a specific task to determine how it’s completed, step-by-step. And once you’ve completed a task analysis, you’ll be in a much better position to make informed decisions about what is nice-to-know information.

Tip #3: Use a Different Format

One way to remove nice-to-know information from eLearning is by creating a blended learning experience. | Tim Slade eLearning Blog

As you analyze and sort through your content, you’ll sometimes identify information that doesn’t necessarily belong in your eLearning course, but still offers some benefit. In these situations, you might be tempted just to keep it in your eLearning course; however, you have other options!

One way to remove nice-to-know information from your eLearning course, but still make it available to your learners, is to deliver it in a different format. It’s important to remember that when you’re designing an eLearning course, it doesn’t mean eLearning has to be the only answer. Instead, you should find ways to create a blended learning experience

You can do this by taking your nice-to-know content and finding other ways to make it available to your learners. Whether it’s a job aid, a reference document, a page on your company’s intranet, or something else, you can still make your nice-to-know information available to your learners without cluttering your eLearning course.

Tip #4: Conduct User Acceptance Testing

One way to remove nice-to-know information from eLearning is by conducting a task analysis. | Tim Slade eLearning blog.

One of the best ways to determine the value of your eLearning content is by asking your target audience. After all, your learners are the ones who have to put the information into use! One way to determine the value of your content and possibly remove nice-to-know information is by conducting user acceptance testing (UAT)

User acceptance testing is simply the process of having a sample of your target audience test your eLearning course. In addition to helping you identify technical or usability errors within your eLearning course, a user acceptance test also allows your learners to tell you what content was and wasn’t helpful.

The Bottom Line

It can be a challenge to identify what’s the most minimal amount of content to include in your eLearning course. However, when you ask the right questions and do the proper research, removing nice-to-know information doesn’t have to be that hard. 

What other tips can you share for removing nice-to-know information from eLearning? Share them by commenting below! 

Tim Slade
Tim Slade is a speaker, author, and award-winning freelance eLearning designer. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, Tim has been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for his creative and innovative design aesthetics. Tim is a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, is a recognized Articulate Super Hero, author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook and creator of The eLearning Designer's Academy.

4 Responses to “How to Remove Nice-To-Know Information From Your eLearning

  • So here’s my question. Most of the eLearning I’m producing now is EH&S compliance driven (i.e., hexavalent chromium awareness, methylene chloride awareness, asbestos awareness, etc.). These requirements come from OSHA, and they get pretty specific about what must be covered in a training session. As you can tell from the topics I’ve listed, they are “awareness” level–learners are not really expected to “DO” anything. From an ISD perspective, I think most of this is nice-to-know info, because they don’t really “do” anything with it. But we’re required to expose them to the information anyway per the regulation. Suggestions on how to make these trainings more interesting and interactive? I’m finding it very hard to make this kind of training more interactive (beyond click and reveal) when there’s very little (if anything) required of the learner to do/perform. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Teddi!

      Thanks for reaching and commenting! Compliance is always a hard one, since it’s usually mandated by some sort of law or requirement. In my experience, there’s usually some reason why it’s required for the learners to receive the information. My best advice would be to try and convert that information into a scenario or situation interaction that puts that information into action…if that’s possible. Otherwise, if it’s just about making the information available to your audience, I’d suggest making it as easy as possible for your learners to consume and track that they received it. As much as I hate to say it, sometimes compliance training is about taking the path of least resistance to deliver the information.

      • Thanks for the reply, Tim. I figured that might be the case, but thought I’d shoot for the moon (if possible).

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